Pune: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development Nitin Gadkari has said that the State sugar factories should focus on ethanol production and tackle the financial crisis efficiently, as the Central government is planning to incentivise the production of vehicles run on ethanol.
He was addressing the State ministers at a meet to discuss the issues of the sugar industry in Nagpur on Friday.
The sugar sector of the State, which is one of the largest revenue generating crops for the farmers and factories, has been seeing a slump this year due to various factors like international market fluctuations and overproduction. The State government had called up a meeting with the Union minister, along with opposition leaders to discuss the issues plaguing the sector and possible remedies.
The senior BJP leader said the country currently is highly dependent on fuel imports. “We currently import fuel products to the tune of Rs 8 lakh crore. To reduce this burden, it is important that we focus on the production of ethanol. This also presents a golden opportunity for the sugar factories,” Gadkari said. He further said, “The Maharashtra government can take initiative in this direction.
“It should form a policy on the issue. The Central government will purchase all ethanol produced in the State.”
Addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “If the sugar factories survive, only then will sugarcane farmers survive, which is why the government’s policy is to help the factories in every way.”
Fadnavis further said, “Once the policy for purchase of ethanol is finalised by the Central government, the State government too will set a positive policy on the issue. The State government aims to encourage ethanol and electricity generation through sugar factories and boost the sugar sector in the State.”
Co-operative Minister Subhash Deshmukh, Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, Education Minister Vinod Tawade and other government ministers were also present on the occasion.
The meeting also saw participation from opposition leaders like Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Ajit Pawar, Dilip Walse-Patil and others.